Education is one of the most important functions of the state. It is controlled and supervised by the State. Educational Services are offered by the Mnistry of Education. In the Constitution right of education is clearly ensured.There are two types of education in Turkey. Formal Education and non-formal education.
Pre-school Education: It is not mandatory for the children between 3-5 ages. Pre-school education is provided by preparatory classes, institutions in kindergardens, inependent nurseries. In 2007-2008 school term 700 thousand children attended top re-school Education in 22 thousan pre-school institutions with 25 thousand techers on duty.
Primary Education: Primary education covers the training of children aged between 6-14. It is compulsory eudcations as free of charge in the public schools. At the end of 8 years of continuous education, sutdents receive primary education diploma
In 2007-2008 school term nearly 11 million children attended 34 thousand primary education institutions, where 445 thousand teachers were on duty.
To provide equality of oppurtunities and to support the primary education, some learning themes were generated. Open Primary School is a good example for this. Open Primary School enables people to study from a distance and complete their formal education. Especially people who completed 5 years of their education and could not continue for some reason- are participating to Open Primary School.
Secondary Education includes at least four years of schooling and covers general, vocational and technical education institutions, based on primary education.
High schools offering a variety of curricula comprise secondary education. After completing primary education and qualifying for secondary education, students have the right to continue and benefit from secondary education, in line with their interests and talents. General secondary education include general, Anatolian, science, social sciences, Anatolian Teacher Training, Anatolian fine arts and sports high schools. Vocational and technical secondary education consist of technical schools for boys, technical schools for girls, vocational schools for commerce and tourism and theological high schools. Some 3,245,322 students were educated by 191,041 teachers in 8,280 schools offering secondary education during the 2007-2008 school year. Under the Project for Restructuring Secondary Education, students’ textbooks in secondary education were also provided free of charge in 2007-2008.
Distant learning services are also provided for students who could not complete their secondary education, giving them this opportunity. These services are being provided through the Open Education High School (AÖL), the Open Vocational High School and Open Vocational and Technical Schools. In the 2007-2008 school year, 334,146 students were educated under Open High Schools.
Special Education: The aim of special education is to meet the educational requirements of the handicapped in the best way possible, in order to integrate them with society and help them develop professional careers.
The special education schools and institutions offer educati-onal services to students who are visually-impaired, hearing-impaired, physically-impaired, orthopaedically handicapped, mentally retarded (educable, teachable), those experiencing adaptation problems and the gifted. Schools offering special education are also synchronous with the levels in the Turkish national education system. However, there is a preparatory class before primary education begins. Meanwhile, those handicapped students who are able to attend primary schools skip preparatory classes. 24,613 students were educated in 579 special education schools by some 6,018 teachers during the 2007-2008 school year. In addition, at special education classes 9,250, and in other schools 56,818, handicapped are receiving integration training. There are 646 students in the nursery classes of 69 special education schools.
Private Education: Private schools of all kinds and at all levels, such as private preparatory courses, private vocational and technical courses, private driving schools, private training and rehabilitation centers and private study centers, comprise the private education. Some 3,137,452 students were educated in nearly 14,477 private schools by 121,828 teachers during the 2007-2008 school year.
Higher Education: Higher education includes educational institutions training people, following at least two years of post-secondary education, at the highest level, and the staff required by scholarly research disciplines at associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level degrees. One needs to study at least four semesters after secondary education to receive an associate’s degree, which aims to provide an intermediate work force for industry. In order to receive a bachelor’s degree, it is necessary to study for at least eight semesters after secondary education. Master’s degrees, on the other hand, require either at least two se-mesters of study after a bachelor’s degree or 10 semesters of study after secondary education. Master’s degrees holders are regarded as specialists or experts in their field of study.
The total number of universities in Turkey during the 2007-2008 academic year was 115, 85 of which were public and the remaining 30 being private universities affiliated with foundations. The number of students receiving higher education during the 2006-2007 academic year, including those attending the Open University, was 2,419,214, and the number of academic staff and lecturers was 86,522. As of the end of 2007, the number of students studying abroad with public or private scholarships to develop academic careers totaled 22,465. An overwhelming majority of the students of higher learning in Turkey receive loans from the Higher Education Credit and Hostels Institution (Yurt-Kur) for education and tuition fees. Yurt-Kur dormitories also meet the accommodation needs of a sizable portion of students. In the 2007-2008 academic year, 576,121 students receiving associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral education received education loans, 184,500 students received scholarships, and another 540,869 students studying at the associate’s (pre-bachelor’s) and bachelor’s degrees levels received of tuition fee loans. Furthermore, the institution provided accommo-dation services in 222 hostels in 78 provincial and 80 district centers with a bed capacity of 201,637.
Students entering higher education institutions are selected and placed by a centrally administered examination system. The basis of this system is the Student Selection Examination (ÖSS), and the organization responsible for its administration is the Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) which is affiliated with the Higher Education Council (YÖK). ÖSS is a one-stage examination held every year. ÖSYM also organizes a separate examination each year for foreign students who wish to enroll in undergraduate programs in Turkey. The applicants do not have to speak Turkish, for this examination is available in both Turkish and English. Those who are successful at the Examination for Foreign Students (YÖS) are entitled to a two-semester leave to learn Turkish, if they wish to do so. The Turkish and Foreign Language Research and Application Center (TÖMER), affiliated with Ankara University, offers Turkish language courses for foreigners.
Higher Education System: All institutions of higher education, universities, higher technology institutes, faculties, institutes, higher education schools, conservatories, vocational higher education schools, and application and research centers in Turkey are under the authority of the Board of Higher Education (YÖK).
Operating in line with the Higher Education Law which covers all higher education institutions and regulates their orga-nization and functions, YÖK is an autonomous agency with a public legal entity. Apart from overseeing the cooperation and coordination among institutions of higher learning, YÖK also prepares short and long-term plans for establishing or developing such institutions as well as educating the aca-demic staff in Turkey or abroad, and it monitors the imple-mentation of these things.
Informal education is comprised of all educational services offered along with or in addition to formal education for those who have never participated in formal education as well as those who are continuing their education or those who have dropped out of formal education at any level.
Informal education is carried out through public education centers, vocational training centers and distance education.
In the 2006-2007 academic year, 5,117,623 people participated in non-formal education courses. These courses were given by 87,285 teachers in 11,864 institutions.
Public Education: Dispersed across the country, public education centers offer most of the educational activities organized outside of formal education institutions. These centers organize and offer reading, writing, voca-tional, social and cultural courses to people of all ages and education levels.
Apprenticeship Training: Apprenticeship training comprises the schooling offered to children and youngsters who have completed 14th years of age and have not yet entered into 19th year, who have completed primary education but could not continue formal education for various reasons.
Apprenticeship training lasts two or four years depending on the nature of the profession. Those who complete this training can take the foremanship examinations and those who pass this exam may continue their education for another three years. Those who complete foremanship training may take the expertise examination. Those who complete the apprenticeship training but do not continue with the foremanship training may take the same exam after five years of professional practice. Those who do not pass the expertise examination are not allowed to operate their own businesses or work as experts.